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Even Legal Parameters Are Being Ignored

NEW YORK, FEB. 20, 2005 (Zenit) - Legalizing abortion was supposed to improve the lot of women, according to its proponents. Recent data, however, increasingly reveal the perturbing trends in the way abortion is being used.

One trend is the disproportionate number of abortions among blacks in the United States. A case in point is the information posted recently by the Web site BlackGenocide.org, run by the Northeast branch of Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN).

This group, headed by Baptist pastor Clenard Howard Childress Jr., highlighted the problem to coincide with the events marking "Black History Month." Between 1882 and 1968, the site reckons, 3,446 blacks were lynched in the United States. That number is now surpassed in less than three days by abortion.

Every day no fewer than 1,452 black children die as a result of abortion, and overall, 3 out of 5 pregnant African-American women will abort their child. Since the 1973 legalization of abortion in the United States, more than 13 million black children have died as a result. In fact, black women account for about 36% of abortions, though they only constitute about 26% of the female population (ages 15-44), the group says.

LEARN also affirms that the largest abortion provider in the United States, Planned Parenthood, has situated 78% of its clinics in zones populated by minority communities. The group observes that Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger, was well known for her racist views. "Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated," LEARN quotes Sanger as saying. The group asks: "Is her vision being fulfilled today?"

The group compares abortion to the practice of slavery. Just as in 1857 the U.S. Supreme Court declared blacks to be an inferior class of beings, so too in 1973 the high court denied unborn children the status of personhood, information on the LEARN site contends.

Commenting on the slogan "pro-choice," Pastor Childress argues: "This carefully devised phrase was contrived to provoke our inward zeal for freedom and the civil right to make choices freely." He continues: "I am all for freedom of choice, except when it comes at the expense of innocent lives. Women who have been deceived into wrong choices and children who were never given any choice at all are the victims of pro-choice America."

Second-timers

Across the Atlantic, disturbing data on abortion also emerged. Earlier this month a study published in Spain showed that 27.3% of women who aborted in 2003 had previously undergone an abortion. And research carried out by the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas demonstrated that this practice is on the increase, the newspaper ABC reported Feb. 10. In 1991 the number of women who underwent repeat abortions was 20%.

Repeated use of abortion is most common in the older age groups. In 2001, no less than 30% of the women ages 30-39 who aborted were second-timers. But even among adolescents who aborted that year, 10% were also second-timers.

According to the study, abortion is more common among women who are working, and those who are single. This latter category accounted for 54.4% of abortions in 2001, and this group's incidence of abortion is rising fastest.

According to a report on the study in the publication El Semanal Digital, dated Feb. 10, abortion has increased sharply in Spain. In 1990 there were 37,231 abortions. By 2003 the number had rocketed to 79,788.

The newspaper El País reported last Dec. 28 that 15.3% of pregnancies in Spain in 2003 were ended by abortion. An interesting side note on the continued rise in abortion -- the level in 2003 was 3.45% higher than in 2002 -- is that this occurred at the same time the "morning-after pill" was being widely distributed. In 2003 more than 300,000 doses of the pill were distributed, El País reported.

Repeat abortions are also a problem in Italy. A report presented in Parliament revealed that there were almost 133,000 abortions in the country in 2003, the Catholic newspaper Avvenire reported last Oct. 6.

Although that number represented a 1% decline compared with the previous year, a quarter of the procedures took place among women who had already aborted. Moreover, there is concern over the disproportionate number of abortions among the immigrant population. Almost a quarter, 22.4%, of abortions took place among non-Italian women, even though immigrants officially comprise only 4.5% of the population. Official data show a rate of 32 abortions for every 1,000 women immigrants aged 15 to 49, compared with 8.2 per thousand for Italian women.

Never too late?

Procedures in Spain also came in for attention last October when the British newspaper Telegraph published a series of articles revealing how women were traveling to that country for late-term abortions. An Oct. 10 article explained how the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the country's largest abortion provider, was recommending hundreds of women to a clinic in Spain once they passed the 24th week of pregnancy. At that stage, abortions in the United Kingdom are not allowed.

Late-term abortions are also illegal in Spain, yet it seems that the Clínica Ginemedex in Barcelona regularly carries out such operations. The clinic's staff members told undercover journalists that they had aborted fetuses up to 30 weeks old. Under Spanish law, abortion is illegal after the 22nd week unless there is grave danger to the mother's health.

A subsequent report by the Telegraph on the issue, Nov. 21, revealed the case of a British doctor, Saroj Adlakha, who admitted arranging an abortion for a healthy patient who was 31 weeks pregnant. The same doctor also said that she was prepared to help arrange an abortion for an undercover journalist, who claimed to have a daughter with a 29-week healthy pregnancy.

On the other side of the world, late-term abortion also came to light in the state of South Australia. The local Advertiser newspaper last Oct. 28 reported that from 1998 to 2002 there were 377 abortions carried out on women who had passed the 20th week of pregnancy. More than half of these involved healthy babies. The mother's "mental state" was the most common reason given for justifying the abortions.

Dr. John James, vice president of Right to Life Australia, said the figures "confirmed what we have always suspected." He told the Advertiser: "The proponents of late-term abortion always insist the majority of late-term abortions are done almost entirely for severe congenital abnormalities. We have always maintained it is not the case and these figures show that it is not the case."

Unspeakable crime

John Paul II dealt with the tragedy of abortion his 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae." "Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable," the Pope noted in No. 58. "The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an 'unspeakable crime.'"

The encyclical stated that the acceptance of abortion in today's culture, and in the law itself, reveals a crisis in morality, "which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake." The data continue to bear that out.

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Keywords

Abortion, Life, Pro-life, Crime, Late-term, Women, Family, LEARN

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